Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Reviews 2012 What An Animal Reading Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Leann Sweeney (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Leann Sweeney and I go way back to when I started blogging back at Dollycas’s Thoughts. The first book in the series The Cat, The Quilt and The Corpse was the very first book I publicly reviewed. I know my reviews have improved since then. With Facebook it is nice that we could online friends. Because of that I know Leann while is so excited about the new book The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon: A Cats in Trouble Mystery, she has had a rough week. I will let her tell you all about it!

Hi Leann!!

Hi Lori and all!

Cats in Trouble—Maybe Even in Your Own Home
By Leann Sweeney

Mercy, South Carolina is home to quilter Jillian Hart, her three wonderful cats Chablis, Merlot and Syrah and a cast of characters who help or sometimes hinder Jillian’s quest to help “Cats in Trouble.” (And by the way, the cats NEVER hinder!) Somehow, Jillian’s quest always seems to involve murder. This time, in The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon: A Cats in Trouble Mystery, the investigation is more personal than ever before. I won’t say more than that! I’ll let Lori tell you.

In each novel in the series, I always try to enlighten and entertain—plus include a cat in trouble who might be a bit of surprise. I drew on my own experience with feline diabetes for this new book. My precious cat, Agatha Christie was diagnosed two and a half years ago. She fought the good fight, but this week, seven days after the release of the new book, she crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. She was the sweetest cat I have ever known and the third cat in a year I have lost to what was really just old age. They were all teenagers in cat years, but ancient in human years. I miss them so much, but I have a new “fellow” in my life named Wexford (after Ruth Rendell’s police inspector). He turns one-year-old next week, has a great and loving personality and is my new inspiration.

I was so gratified to learn that several people who read the new book last week learned through my heroine, Jillian, that plastic is toxic to cats. They have since removed plastic dishes from their homes. If that information saves one cat’s life, I am so happy. My own Archie Goodwin, a tuxedo cat who died in November, was suffering from terrible mouth and gum sores about seven years ago. I did a little research, found out plastic can cause these sores (and worse things, too). Within a week of removing the plastic dishes, his sores were gone and they never returned.

Next up in the series, I tackle the heartbreak of feral cats and all the misinformation about them—plus the humane and wonderful ways people are saving these colonies of cats. Look for The Cat, The Mill and The Murder next April. Guess I better get back to work, huh?

~Leann

I am so glad Leann is able to stop by today. I know she has a lot on her mind. Our pets work their way into our hearts so fast and we become almost as dependent on them as they are on us. They can always sense when we need them. When we have had a bad day they are there with the head on our knee or jump into our laps to comfort us. It is always painful when they are sick and can’t tell us what is wrong or when we lose them quickly or to a longtime illness. They may be gone from our physical lives but will forever live on it our hearts.

Thank you Leann for sharing!!

the cat, the wife and the weapon

 

The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon:
A Cats in Trouble Mystery

4th in the Series
Obsidian
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group

Mercy is a town when everyone knows everyone’s business. How is that Jillian didn’t know her friend Tom had a brother?

Jillian returns home after attending craft fairs and cat shows selling her beautiful kitty quilts to find Tom missing and a man claiming to be Tom’s brother looking mighty comfortable in Tom’s house. She also finds Tom’s diabetic cat has gotten out of the house and this stranger has made no effort at all to look for him.

Then Tom’s car is found wrecked with a dead man, thankfully not Tom, inside. Where the heck is Tom and what is going on in Mercy?

Jillian with the help of her feline friends is going to find out and find out fast before someone else ends up dead!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Each story is better than the last. This is definitely the best of the series so far!!

We get to delve into Tom’s past and it is jam packed with secrets that keep us on our paws until the very last page. I don’t want to give too much away but I will say there are several surprises. Lydia still thinks Jillian is standing in the way of her and Tom living happily ever after. Merlot, Syrah and Chablis meet a new friend and there are some new characters that you have to read to believe. There are parts will have you laughing out loud, parts that will have you shaking in your shoes, and parts that may make you shed a tear or two. Sweeney has written a complex mystery and the dialogue between the characters was some of the best I have ever read.

Leann also always includes some cat facts and trivia woven into her stories and this time she enlightens us on feline diabetes and that plastic bowls can be toxic to our furry friends. I changed my pets water bowls the minute I read about it in the book.

I am not going to pussyfoot around, this book is fabulous, I loved it and you will too!


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
As well as being a writer, I am a registered nurse and worked for 35 years, 15 of them mostly in psyschiatry and the last 20 before I took early retirement as a school nurse–but wait. School nursing is a psych job, too. I have degrees in nursing and in psychology and have lived on the Texas Gulf Coast for 32 years. My husband is a chemical engineer and I have two amazing children. My son and his wife live in Seattle. My daughter and her husband rotate between NYC and Massachusetts. Aren’t we lucky to be in between? Well, sorta. Both places are too far away.

Would you like to win a copy of this fabulous book?
Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Leann for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End May 2, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Just For Fun Challenge Reviews 2012 What's In A Name Challenge

The Darling Dahlias and The Cucumber Tree by Susan Wittig Albert

This is my Just For Fun Read for April and I just had to share it with you! The second book in the series in also screaming from my To-Be-Read shelf.

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree
The Darling Dahlias Mysteries
1st in Series
The Berkley Publishing Company
Published by The Penguin Group

Set in the Spring of 1930, the garden club of Darling, Alabama is celebrating the life of the founding member, Mrs. Dahlia Blackstone, by renaming their club in her honor.” Henceforth and forever, the would now as the Darling Dahlias.”

The club was also left the Blackstone home and gardens to use as their clubhouse. The home isn’t too large but the gardens have been written about in the Montgomery Advertiser and the Selma Times Journal. There is also a large cucumber tree in front and another in back of the house. Town librarian and Dahlia club member insists they be called by their proper Latin name, Magnolia acuminata, but they are now and will forever be cucumber trees to the people of Darling. Both the house and the gardens need work as Mrs. Blackstone health was failing she was unable to keep up with everything. Inheriting the home was totally unexpected by the group but they will do what they need to do to restore everything.

Life in Darling isn’t all a garden party though. A convict has escaped from a nearby prison, a car is stolen, there are rumors started about the local bank being in trouble and a ghost has been sighted digging in the backyard of the Dahlias new home. The Dahlias start digging themselves for information to see if the can get to the root of all these mysteries.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
While reading this I was struck at how similar life is today with what was going on in 1930. We keep hearing that this economic downfall is as bad as the “great depression”. This story shines a light on the struggles being faced then and it is glaring in the similarities being faced by people today.

The author has created wonderful characters that are each vastly different but come together through their love of gardening. They also come together to help each other when without the garden club they may not even be friends. We are introduced to each and learn how the fit together while they use their individual talents to solve a series of problems plaguing their beautiful town.

A wonderful debut to what I am sure will be a wonderful series. Susan is a very talented author and I would expect no less. This is the perfect time of year to curl up with the Darling Dahlias and their mysteries.


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Susan Wittig Albert is the author of An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days, recently released by the University of Texas Press, and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place.

Her fiction, which has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, includes mysteries in the China Bayles series, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries she has written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige. Previous nonfiction includes What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest (winner of the 2009 Willa Award for Creative Nonfiction); With Courage and Common Sense; Writing from Life: Telling the Soul’s Story; and Work of Her Own: A Woman’s Guide to Success Off the Career Track.

She is founder and past president of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.

Find out more at http://susanalbert.com/


This book was from my private collection.

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts

Cozy Wednesday With Dorothy St. James (Giveaway too!)


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!


Many years ago our family went on a fantastic vacation that included a few days in Washington D.C. The area is so beautiful and until that trip I only knew about The Rose Garden at The White House. There are many gardens including the vegetable garden started by Mrs. Obama which I believe was the author’s inspiration for The Scarlet Pepper.

Dorothy St. James’ White House Garden Mysteries take us right on the grounds of The White House and inside the internal workings of The White House and its staff especially the grounds crew. She is here today to take us on a little tour. If you are like me you will be wanting to plan a trip to the capital as soon as possible.

Welcome Dorothy!!

Hi Everyone!

What’s with all these writers penning series that aren’t set in their hometown? Aren’t you supposed to write what you know? This was a question that was asked of me not that long ago. It’s a good question. Why do we set our books where we do?

I’m sure every author has a different—and very personal—answer for that question. But I think all of those answers can be boiled down to one similar thought: We love the places we write about.


Naturally, my White House Gardener Mystery series had to be set in Washington, D.C. But I didn’t have to write about the White House when I call the Lowcountry of South Carolina home. A beautiful place steeped with history and thick with pluff mud. I feel blessed to live here!

And yet, I did choose to write about D.C. because (quite simply) I love the city. I love its multicultural roots. I love the free museums. I love its energy. D.C. is a vibrant place to visit and rich with inspiration for mystery novels. You don’t hear anyone complaining that there’s a shortage of scandal or intrigue in our nation’s capital.


On April 3, 2012, The Scarlet Pepper, the second book in the White House Gardener Mystery series, was released. In it, Casey Calhoun, the White House’s organic gardener is up to her elbows in dirt as she works on the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden.

When someone starts tampering with the garden and a hard-nosed investigative reporter is found dead, Casey realizes that the next thing buried in the dirt might just be her…

To help me research this book, I took several trips to visit the White House Kitchen Garden.

Unlike the lottery ticket system if you want to attend the White House Easter Egg Roll, or having to contact your Congressman if you wish to take a White House tour, twice a year the White House opens its gardens to the public. For free! And no advance ticket required!

 

Just pick up your tickets from the National Park Service’s visitor center located adjacent to the White House.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we passed through security and the fabled iron gates, we had the freedom to wander through the South Lawn. White House gardeners and volunteers stationed at various points throughout the tour patiently answered all of my questions.

The Secret Service agents, present in full force because the First Family was in residence, answered my questions about the different types of guns they carried, their responsibilities and the best place to eat breakfast.

 

 

The White House gardens have three seasonal displays. The first three books in the White House Gardener Mystery series celebrates each season: Flowerbed of State: SPRING, The Scarlet Pepper: SUMMER, and the upcoming Oak and Dagger: FALL.

 

Volunteers work in the kitchen garden, a 1,500 square foot raised bed garden plot.

 

Details for Spring and Fall Tours: Garden tours are free, visit www.whitehouse.gov for information about upcoming garden tours. The website posts dates for the tours approximately a month in advance. In the past, tours have occurred the third weekend in April and October. Bring plenty of film and a notebook to jot down hints and tips you’ll pick up from the volunteer docents.

 

In the meantime, I invite you to let Casey Calhoun give you an insider’s tour of the White House and its grounds in The Scarlet Pepper and take a mini-vacation.

~Dorothy

To find out more about Dorothy and her books check out her website at www.dorothystjames.com

the scarlet pepper

The Scarlet Pepper
(A White House Gardener Mystery)

2nd in the Series

Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Olivia Andreas

Casey Calhoun works at The White House as the assistant gardener. In this installment we are focused on the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden. It hasn’t been classified as an “organic garden” yet, but Casey is using organic procedures as they work toward that goal. There are rumors running rampant in the media about the garden. It is being said that Casey is replacing plants to make it seem that the plants are growing faster than they actually are and that the ground is full of lead making the vegetables grown there dangerous to eat. Casey thinks it is funny that with all the issues the nation is facing the vegetable garden is such a high priority with the press.

There definitely is something going on in the garden as red peppers are popping up where green peppers are supposed to be and cabbage is growing where lettuce was planted. Casey is very confused when in addition to the different plants the garden is being vandalized during the night.

Then an investigative reporter is found dead with Casey’s name in his notes. She doesn’t haven’t much time to dig into all the details as the first harvest of the garden is right around the corner and it is going to be another big press event. There is much more going than a few garden incidents. Someone seems to think Casey is the key and knows who the killer is, she is having one close call after another. She’d better hurry up and figure out what’s going on or she may find herself planted right between the eggplant and cauliflower.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

When I reviewed Flowerbed of State I said couldn’t wait for the next Casey Calhoun story and it was well worth the wait. Who knew a little kitchen garden for The White House and a pesky reporter could cause so much trouble?  Its got all the makings of a fabulous mystery especially in the hands of this author.

I love a strong female protagonist and Casey fits the bill. If the Secret Service Training Sessions don’t make her want to quit her job there is no way a murderer running around the gardens is going to either. She is right in the dirt with this one. I loved it!!!!

St. James writes a fast paced cozy mystery with more twists than all the varieties of bell peppers. Toss together a little humor, romance, a pregnant first lady, and some  Secret Service Agents with some unpredictable volunteers, an organic garden expert, a few secrets and a dead body and you are in for a bountiful feast for your reading pleasure.

This cozy gets my highest recommendation, a perfect escape, and it should be in your in your hot little hands as you prepare your own gardens. Definitely a must “seed” story!!!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Would you like to win a copy of this awesome book?
Thanks to the people at Berkley Prime Crime
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Dorothy for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 25, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies Reviews 2012

Ocean Waves by Terri Thayer

Ocean Waves
(A Quilting Mystery)

3rd in Series
Midnight Ink
Published by Llewellyn Publications
Cover Illustration by Cheryl Chalmers- The July Group
Cover Design by Lisa Novak

Dewey Pellicano, owner of QP (Quilter Paradiso) is in just a little over her head. In her quest to learn more about quilting since her mother left her a quilt shop she decides to attend the Sewing-By-The-Sea Symposium in Asilomar, California. Everyone there has much more quilting experience than Dewey and the conference organizer is more of a dictator than a director. She collects their cell phones and car keys, only allows the public phone to be available from 7-9 p.m., doesn’t allow anyone leave the park, the woman definitely has issues.

Dewey just wants to learn what she can, relax a little, hopefully with her man by her side and get through the week. Then she learns about a ghost that lurks around the conference, a woman goes missing, and there is a mountain lion on the loose. If that isn’t enough a valuable sewing box is stolen and then someone ends up dead.

Poor Dewey, seems trouble follows her wherever she goes. Looks like she is going to have to piece together all the clues again and figure just what is going on in this crazy quilt of murder and mayhem.


Dollycas’s Thoughts

Terri has a true gift!! The twists and turns in this installment were fabulous!!!

Dewey reconnects with her brother Tony, he is a ranger at the park. The brother/sister interplay was so real and endearing. Snappy, teasing, but there for each other. Loved it. Dewey and Buster’s relationship continues to evolve as they can’t stand to be away from each other.

The author also delves into the topic of abuse, a wife being abused by her husband. She stitches it into the complex plot masterfully. She helps shed light on that an abuser can be anyone, the guy next door, a person asking for directions, someone you see everyday and would never think they would be an abusive person.

While we miss some of the characters from the quilt shop we are introduced to new ones that work their way into our hearts, plus the flamboyant Freddy is back from the first book is the series.

The next book in the series, Monkey Wrench, out May 8th, arrived in my mailbox last week. I can’t wait to see what Dewey and the QP gang are up to next. 

This series continues to impress me and bring me joy.  I urge you to pick one up and “Escape Into” it today!!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


This book was from my personal collection.

Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies Reviews 2012 What An Animal Reading Challenge

Dread on Arrival by Claudia Bishop

Dread on Arrival
(A Hemlock Falls Mystery)

17th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Karen Strelecki
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky

Available Now!

 

Hemlock Falls, New York, is perfect for tourists with its quaint shops and world famous cooking school and the wonderful Inn at Hemlock Falls. Run by sisters, Meg Quilliam and Sarah Quilliam-McHale. Meg is a master chef with a bit of a temper, watch out for flying saute pans. Sarah (Quill) is the manager with an adorable son Jackson. Her husband Myles, the former sheriff, now works for the federal government and is gone a lot.

In this latest installment a episode of the hit television show Your Ancestor’s Attic is being taped in Hemlock Falls. The host of a competing show Pawn-O-Rama arrives on the scene just in time to cause a little trouble. The hosts of the shows have quite a rivalry going and they decide to settle things between them with a cooking contest that will be taped for both programs.

Things get a little heated as the competition begins, then one of the men keels over dead. Suspicions are that he was poisoned and his rival is the obvious culprit. But he is not the only suspect, even some of the residents of Hemlock Falls are being questioned.

Thankfully the Quilliam sisters are masters at sizing up the suspects and with a little help they will catch the killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is one of my favorite series. The entire set in on my keeper shelf. The quirky characters are delightful. They continue to grow and evolve through each story. Their antics always bring a smile to my face.

With that being said the plot of this one threw me a bit. I love the idea of an Antiques Roadshow type series coming to the town. The characters this theme brought were amazing.  I got lost wondering why would these hosts engage in a cooking contest? This idea did bring the story back to the inn and cooking school, but it just felt off. The were appraisers of antiques, not from a cooking show. If rival cooking show hosts came to town this contest was perfect but it didn’t work for me in this circumstance. There was a wedding supposed to be held at the inn with the reception at the cooking school and a murder there may have made more sense. I know after 17 stories it is hard to be new, fresh, current and unique, and please all the fans, this one just missed the mark with me. 

The story as it plays out is entertaining and I still enjoyed it. It just left me scratching my head a bit.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts

Cozy Wednesday with Elizabeth Lynn Casey (Giveaway too!)


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

Those Southern Sewing Circle ladies are back and this edition is awesome. I have loved each and every book in this series. This women have become friends I can’t wait to see again and again. They are always getting into some kind of trouble.  I have always wondered where Elizabeth comes up with her ideas. I am thrilled she is here today to shed a little light on the subject. Please get a glass of sweet tea and help me welcome Elizabeth Lynn Casey.

Hi Elizabeth!!

Hi Everyone!

The Happy Place
By Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Readers often ask where I get my ideas. And, in many cases, my answer is fairly simple—a snippet from a newsbyte on the radio, or a news item on my computer’s splash screen. When this happens, it’s because something about that particular news item caught my attention and sent me off to my happy place.

Now, while I love the ocean and hiking through the woods, the happy place to which I’m writing about at the moment is inside my head.

Strange, I know.

When a snippet finds its way into my happy place, I’m pretty much done. I don’t hear another word the radio personality says, I don’t read another word of the blurb on my screen. Instead, I retreat and let my mind start putting its own spin on things.

I’ll give you an example from yesterday’s release of Reap What You Sew (the sixth book in my Southern Sewing Circle mystery series).

Reap What You Sew

This book was born from a simple “how was your day” discussion with a woman I see from time to time. She’s a special education teacher with some of the best “how was your day” answers, I’ve ever heard. Anyway, she was talking about a young man in her class who is a Kleptomaniac Hoarder—which means he has a tendency to swipe things (in quantity) and hang onto them.

What, if anything, this woman said about the rest of her day, I don’t know. Because I wasn’t there, anymore.

Well, technically I was there—still sitting in the same chair—but I wasn’t there.

Yup, that’s right. I was in my happy place. 🙂

Before I left that night, I knew a) how I was going to use that Kleptomaniac Hoarder thing, b) who was going to enter the canvas of characters with that condition and c) how it was going to play out.

The result? A super fun story that has; a famous movie director coming to Sweet Briar to film a few scenes for an upcoming film, the introduction of (fan favorites) Leona and Margaret Louise’s elderly mother, and a murder that puts three of the sewing Circle’s members on the suspect list.

If you’re already a fan of the series, I hope you enjoy this latest installment (the cover is spectacular, isn’t it?). If you’re new to the series, you’ve got some catching up to do.

Next up? Let It Sew, the seventh book in the series coming November 6th.

Happy Reading!

~Elizabeth

Thank you so much Elizabeth for stopping by. I know you are super busy with this book release and another in June. You continue to amaze me and create characters and stories for all of us to enjoy! You keep writing and we’ll keep reading!!

About This Author

Elizabeth Lynn Casey is the author of the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries with Berkley Prime Crime. Reap What You Sew, the latest title in the series, debuted yesterday. In addition to this series, Elizabeth will also be writing the upcoming Amish Mysteries (also with Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin) under her real name, Laura Bradford. Hearse and Buggy, the first book in the series, will release on June 5th. For more information about Elizabeth, visit: www.elizabethlynncasey.com

 

Reap What You Sew
Reap What You Sew
(A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery)

6th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group

Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher(It’s Amazing!)
Cover Design by Judith Lagerman

Quaint, cozy, Sweet Briar is about to get full of drama, lots of drama! Warren Shoemaker has chosen Sweet Briar to be the setting for his next movie. Everyone in Sweet Briar, including every member of the Southern Sewing Circle is dreaming of stardom hoping to be cast as an extra in the movie. One of the members even plans to snag a leading role. Tori Sinclair is the lucky one to actual earn a part as an extra. She is very excited to step out of the library and into a movie based on one of her favorite books.

The cameras stop rolling very early as everyone waits for the leading actress to arrive on the set, but we soon learn she is not just late or being the diva the whole crew knows her to be. She is found dead in her trailer, murdered and more than one of the sewing circle members turns out to be prime suspects in her death. The show most definitely will not go on until Tori can uncover the truth and catch the real killer. The set is anything but quiet as she pieces together the clues that will sew up all the drama plaguing the lovely town of Sweet Briar.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Everyone needs a group of friends like the ladies of the Southern Sewing Circle. These ladies have each others back whether they are trying to survive a break up with a boyfriend, dealing with their kids, facing the task of what to do with an aging parent or keeping someone’s butt out of jail. A certain lady in the group gets herself in a bunch of hot water in this installment and at times can be exasperating at her thoughts that even though she may not have committed the crime, she is still happy “that woman” is out of the “picture”. As I have said before these friendships are the core of this series. Each of their different outlooks and personalities bring the perfect contrast to this group of characters. Each character is brilliantly written.

The movie plot touches home with me as my little hometown here in Wisconsin was used as a backdrop for a bit of Johnny Depp’s movie Public Enemy. The scenes rang true to everything I heard and observed during that time. Little towns just go crazy when there movie stars walking about.

The victim and I share something too. I can’t tell you what but you will see when you read this wonderful story.

There are the surprises and twists that Elizabeth Lynn Casey stitches in each of her mysteries. She says snippets (ideas) find the way to her “happy place” and stories are born. She has done amazing things with these snippets. I hope her “happy place” overflows with these ideas and lead to many more fun stories like this one. You cannot go wrong with an Elizabeth Lynn Casey mystery.  They are fun, entertaining and definitely “must reads”!!


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the wonderful people
at Berkley Prime Crime
I have 2 copies of


and one copy of the fifth book in the series


U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Elizabeth for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Reviews 2012

50% OFF MURDER by Josie Belle

50 off murder

50% Off Murder
(Good Buy Girls)

Brand New Series

A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Company
Published by The Penguin Group’
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Sarah Oberreader
Available Now!!

Meet the Good Buy Girls – Maggie Gerber, St. Stanley native. Her husband, Charlie, was a deputy for the St. Stanley Sheriff’s Department. He was killed in the line of duty when their daughter, Laura, was just a toddler. Laura is now a sophomore at Penn State and Maggie has opened her home to her niece Sandy and her son Josh. Sandy’s husband is deployed in Afghanistan and Sandy is studying to become a nurse. Maggie helps with Josh and does billing part-time for a local doctor.

Ginger Lancaster, another St. Stanley native, same age, same dress and shoe size as Maggie. Ginger is outspoken and funny. She runs her own accounting business. Her husband has a corporate sales job and they have four teenage boys.

Clare Freemont is in her mid-30’s, she moved from Baltimore and is a librarian with a very dry sense of humor, her biggest extravagance is gourmet pet food for her cat, Mr. Tumnus. Maggie invited Clare to join the group when she found out they shared a mutual love for books and bargains.

Joanne Claramotta is the newest member of the group. Together with her husband Michael they own and operate the More Than Meats Butcher Shop and Deli. They moved to St. Stanley from Brooklyn about 10 years ago.

Maggie and Ginger started the Good Buy Girls Club to share coupons, discounts and bargain tips over 20 years ago when they were newlyweds expecting their first babies. The club membership has varied over the years with Ginger and Maggie as self-proclaimed life time members. Maggie’s house is home base for the club.

Maggie takes Josh to story hour at the library. While he is playing with friends Maggie visits with Clare. She decides to help her move some donated books to the library basement. When they reached the bottom of the stairs they are scared to death. There is body on the floor with a knife in his chest. Turns out Clare recognizes the man, someone from her past.

The handsome new sheriff who happens to be a man from Maggie’s past sets his sights on Clare as his prime suspect. It will take more than a clearance sale for the Good Buy Girls to get their friend out of this jam.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This is a wonderful debut to this brand new series.

Josie Belle is a pseudonym for Jenn McKinlay author of the Library Lover’s Mystery Series and the Cupcake Mystery Series. She also wrote the Decoupage Mysteries under the name Lucy Lawrence.

In this series she has created wonderful characters in the Good Buy Girls but also in the supporting characters. The sheriff Sam Collins, Max who is so much more the the guy who works at the Frosty Freeze, Summer Phillips the thorn in Maggie’s side, and the suspects, there are many more than just Clare.

She has also developed a very engaging who-dun-it that keeps bringing the man Maggie wants to avoid more than paying retail into her path. Why did he have to come back to St. Stanley? Things were going so well.

Who doesn’t love a good bargain? Josie Belle has taken a theme we all can relate to and turned it into what I know will be a very successful series. 50% Off Murder equals 110% of fun!! I can’t wait for the next big sale! Keep you elbows to yourself and your eyes on the prize, three…two… one…go!!!!!

 

 

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Giveaways Guest Posts

Special Guest Post – Laura Childs With Giveaway!

I am so happy to welcome Laura here today. Whether you have love her Tea Shop Mysteries or Scrapbooking Mysteries, or Cackleberry Club Mysteries or you love them all you realize what a treat it is to have her here . If Laura is an author new to you I will have a complete list of her books after her guest post.

Think you could be an author yourself, read below as Laura gives you a bit of inside information.

Hi Laura!!

Hi Lori, I am happy to be here!

Have you got a story to tell and a yearning to be published?

Most people do. As an author, I’m constantly quizzed about the world of publishing and being asked for tips on how to break in and what editors are looking for.

So . . . do editors really know what they’re looking for? Not always. Do they know it when they see it? Well . . . sometimes.

An editor’s biggest responsibility lies in the area of acquisitions. That is, they are tasked with finding new authors with new material. As such, editors are always on the hunt for the next big thing. And usually that means a great story with great characters – because a character-driven story is what’s really critical these days.

Editors are also looking for breakout books. Books that are different and don’t re-tell the same old story. Think about books such as The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother or The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. These are books that really stand out in their categories.

So what can would-be authors do to increase their chances of success today? What can you do if you’ve got a story to tell and a yearning to be published? Well, take a look at the various categories. The mystery, thriller, and romance categories seem to be holding strong, while the market for “chick lit” novels is fairly saturated.

In the past, I was able to pitch books and win contracts based on 3 or 4 chapters and an outline. Now that we’re in a somewhat tougher market, that’s pretty much changed. Now editors want to see your entire manuscript.

As an prospective author, you also need to understand how your book concept relates to the marketplace. If there are already 35 culinary mystery series out there and you’re pitching the 36th, it could be a tough sell. You also need to be fully cognizant of the internal architecture of your novel. I’m talking about plot, pacing, turning points, character development, dialogue, and building suspense. These are the things you learn with experience and also by reading other successful authors. In fact, when I first started out, I used to tear apart novels by Michael Connelly and James Patterson and actually diagram them!

But the most important thing you need today is fortitude – you have to believe in yourself! You have to know that you can do it and never ever allow yourself to become discouraged! Just remember – John Grisham’s first novel, The Client, was turned down by 30 agents and 15 publishers. More than 2 dozen publishers turned down Chicken Soup for the Soul before it became a best seller and spawned an entire series. And Mary Higgins Clark, who helped me get started, was rejected 40 times before making her first sale. One editor told her: “Your story is light, slight, and trite.”

In today’s on-demand climate it’s also hugely important to establish an opening story hook immediately. Editors don’t want pages and pages of build-up, they want you to toss your reader directly into the action! As my agent once said to me – “You’re writing murder mysteries, so you better deliver a dead body right there in chapter one!”

So . . . good luck. Write diligently and work smart. And someday I hope to see you on a bestseller list!

Laura Child’s most recent release is Agony of the Leaves (A Tea Shop Mystery). She has Postcards from the Dead (A Scrapbooking Mystery) coming out October 2 and Stake & Eggs (A Cackleberry Club Mystery) being released December 4, 2012. Both of these new book are available for pre-order.

Find out more about the author at www.laurachilds.com

Thanks to the people at Berkley Prime Crime
I have 2 copies of Laura’s Newest Release!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Laura for 5 Bonus Entries!

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 12, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday with Maria E. Schneider with Giveaway!!


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I “met” Maria awhile ago when she was nice enough to share the first two books in the Sedona O’Hala series with me. Sedona sure gets into some intense situations but the thing that makes me love these story are the parts that are laugh out loud funny. I am so excited to have her here today to talk books. I will also review Executive Sick Days. It is so funny that this one has to do with x-rays since my husband manages a mobile x-ray company here in Wisconsin. He could probably write a book as well about some of the happenings but he will never have Maria’s gift!!

Welcome Maria!

Hi Everyone!,

I’m on a cozy reading group over on the Amazon forums. I asked the ladies there what I should blog about for my guest blog here on Dollycas’ fabulous site. “Oh, blog about your two feral kitties, Scamp and Junior,” said one. “No, no, you have to tell them about trying to find shorts that fit and that one pair you made where you kept cutting the legs to match until all you had left was pair of underwear with pockets.” Gosh. By all means, let me leave a first impression of a homeless bag lady with cats. Uhm.

Perhaps it’s best if I just introduce myself as a writer with a lot of hobbies. I write cozy mysteries and not-quite-cozy paranormal mysteries. Lori has told you all about my Sedona mystery series: an amateur sleuth trying her best to climb the corporate ladder and make a decent living. Like a lot of us, her boss isn’t necessarily cheering her on, and she has some co-workers who could make an angel plot revenge.

But enough about me. Let’s talk books. You like books, I like books. I’ll tell you my favorites if you tell me yours.

Elizabeth Peters – I not only like her Amelia Peabody series, but perhaps even more, her zany Vicky Bliss series. I am pretty sure Peters influenced me and I don’t mean my writing–I own a parasol because Amelia owns one. Ever since I read about a parasol making a nifty weapon, well, I just had to have one. It’s pure cotton lace and would make a terrible weapon, but yes, I really have walked through the park with my dear husband and my parasol. It is true that I giggled, but at least two other passersby stopped to ask me where I bought my parasol. One was a lady on a bicycle who stopped so suddenly I worried the little dog in the carriage behind her might catapult into a tree. We had a nice chat about my parasol. The dog’s name was Bo. I don’t remember her name, but I always wondered if she bought a parasol.

Virginia Lanier – Now this series isn’t really cozy. It’s got an edge and there are some parts that are heartbreaking and scary. But there’s dogs and people who work hard and care, and the writing and plots are some of the best I’ve read. Ever. I don’t think this author influenced me. I could not write like she did, and I don’t have a dog. But if I did have a dog, it would be awfully cool if, like in the books, it was a talented bloodhound capable of rescuing people–and guarding the heart of its owner as the most valuable thing in the world.

Patricia Briggs– She writes a lot of urban fantasy these days and it’s all very, very good. Specifically the Alpha and Omega series which has so much heart and mystery, you’ll be glued to the pages. I read Patricia Briggs back when she started out in fantasy.  When Demons Walk  remains an all-time favorite. But it’s not the fantasy or urban fantasy themes that make this author’s work so special. It’s the fact that she can write a thrilling mystery with characters you care about–in any setting. She never forgets to wind in a romance, the kind that puts a smile on your face and makes you nod your head because it isn’t that the hero is handsome, it is that he is kind and good and special. If her work has taught me anything, it’s that you can write a book that is a superbly-plotted mystery in any setting so long as you take the time to create just the right characters to go with the story.

Those are three of my favorites. Stop by and tell me yours!

~Maria
www.BearMountainBooks.com

Please Leave A Comment telling Maria your favorite authors and look for a special giveaway after my review.

Executive Sick Days
A Sedona O’Hala Mystery

3rd in Series
Bear Mountain Books

Those darn Huntington brothers have lured Sedona into another dangerous investigation. Good thing one of them makes her heart beat faster and the other gives her nice gifts, like a Mercedes.

Someone at the hospital is running a scam and it is not easy to figure out who or how but Sedona is on the case in addition to cleaning bed pans and avoiding a certain nurse. Hopefully she doesn’t end up on a slab in the morgue before she works out all the details.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The crime here is serious but Sedona just cracks me up time and time again.

This story hits home for me not only because my husband works for an x-ray company but because just last week I was contacted about a past due bill for a doctor I have never seen in my life. Yes, I was in the hospital last April but that doesn’t mean every doctor on staff can bill me for services. I understand way to clearly why American health care is so screwed up.  

But now back to this wonderful story. The plot is believable and real. The characters are fantastic. Sedona volunteering at the hospital where her sister-in-law works is the perfect setting. How long can anyone seriously think they can hide a pregnancy? 🙂 The romantic tension keeps building with one Huntington and just plain tension is going strong with the other one. 

This whole series of books is just plain fun and entertaining!! Word of caution, watch out for the snake!! You will love this book!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Now for the special giveaway!

Since I received my Kindle I have become addicted
to it so this is an e-book giveaway.

My first!!

Your Choice Kindle or Nook!
Your Choice of one book from the Sedona O’Hala Mystery Series!

There will be 3 winners!!

Fill out the form below and I will contact you for your choice of book if you win!
Contest Will End April 12 AT 12:01 AM CST
GOOD LUCK!!
Continue reading “Cozy Wednesday with Maria E. Schneider with Giveaway!!”

Posted in Just For Fun Challenge Reviews 2012

Old Maid’s Puzzle by Terri Thayer

This is my March Just For Fun Selection.

Old Maid’s Puzzle
(A Quilting Mystery)

2nd in the Series

Published by Midnight Ink
Llewellyn Publications

Dewey Pellicano is looking forward to celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Quilter Paradiso, the quilting shop left to her by her mother. Dewey never caught the quilting bug but realizes she has to learn to keep the store a sucess and as she learns so is starting to love it just as her mom did.

The quilting love goes out the back door as she finds out there is a dead body in the alley behind the store. As if she didn’t have enough problems, facing stiff competition from other stores she is barely keeping Quilter Paradiso afloat, she has an employee who happens to be her sister-in-law fighting her every step of the way and she just learned her shop is going to be featured on national television the day before the huge 20th Anniversary Sale. A dead body in the alley is not going to lure customers to her store even if it is on television. She has to scrap together everything she can to find the killer before the sale. Hopefully her hunky detective boyfriend Buster will lend her a hand.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There is just something about these books, once I start them I can’t put them down.  As I said when I reviewed the first book, Wild Goose Chase, this is a fun series. Dewey is getting stronger. Her romance with Buster is developing nicely. Kym has taken her fight against progress to a whole new level. We are also getting into more of the lives of the supporting characters.

But it is the mystery of who killed the man in the alley that kept the pages turning with its several twists and turns that made me love this book. It was full of surprises and suspense. There are also parts that are laugh out loud funny. Terri has crafted another cozy both quilters and non quilters will absolutely love. I can’t wait to read Ocean Waves and Monkey Wrench comes out on May 8. 

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


*This book was from my private collection.